US Secretary of Education talks change with EBR students

Local News

"Our students are telling us, literally telling us, this is what they need."

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Lawmakers are looking to make some big changes in education. The U.S. Secretary of Education visited a few East Baton Rouge Parish schools to talk to parents and students about how national leaders can better serve student learning.

“When we come back from a pandemic, we need to realize that not only have our students experienced trauma, but also our staff,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

“Sometimes it’s more of checking up on people, to make them know they are not by themselves,” added one student.

Students and parents brought concerns like these to the table as they met with the Cordona.

“Every opportunity that I have to engage with them, I’ve tried to take advantage of,” said McKinley Middle Magnet parent Deirdre Richard.

Hot topics included mental health, after-school programs and resources, and building strong relationships at school.

“I think what we need to be aware of is that a number of students have fallen short as a result of the pandemic and I’m particularly concerned with the students who have some type of deficiency,” said parent Pamela Hayes.

“Making sure my daughter, who ended up choosing to tap out and be fully virtual, made sure she was having some type of social interaction, watched her mood, some of the other parents watched that, making sure she was okay,” added Richard.

Cardona is taking these concerns to President Biden and looking to find ways to catch up after 18 months of losses from the pandemic.

“Have good after-school activities, have connections to community partners, caring adults, warm meals, and someone who can help with homework. Our students are telling us, literally telling us, this is what they need,” said Cardona.

The money from the American Rescue Plan and potentially the Build Back Better bill promises to help make these changes possible for students and teachers.

“We need more resources like this now more than ever because you can see the need wherever we go. I’ll use the critical shortage for example for the educators, we need those high-quality professionals in the classrooms at the bus route,” said Louisiana Association of Educators President Dr. Tia Mills.

“Every visit here shows what good leadership looks like, what a good system looks like, and what recovery looks like across the country,” said Cardona.

U.S. Representative Troy Carter and East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Dr. Sito Narcisse joined in on the meetings.

“It is extremely appreciated by me, as a member of Congress, to have a cabinet secretary to come and meet with our young people. He goes back and talks to the President of the United States about what he heard. That’s huge,” said Rep. Carter.

“We’re just so excited to be able to showcase what we do in our city. We think about all kids, not some kids and it’s important for us as we continue to accelerate kids and talk about social-emotional learning,” added Narcisse.

The Build Back Better bill passed through the House and is still facing some hurdles in Congress.

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